Here’s our wrap up of 2014’s GFAF Expo in Secaucus, NJ. This year’s Expo did not disappoint! Nearly 150 different exhibit tables with food vendors, medical experts, writers, expert presenters… you name it! The Expo floor was a buzz with THOUSANDS of visitors over the two days. We met with so many great people, some old friends we made at last year’s event and many new vendors and followers of our website!
To try and recap everything we did is nearly impossible. There’s just too much to write about. So we’ve decided to write about our top five picks of the Expo. While we were amazed by the enormity of this event, these five vendors stood out in our eyes and the “Best in Show” for various reasons. While our focus was primarily on gluten free offerings, many of these vendors focused heavily on dairy free, nut free, and soy free as well… just to name a few!
This was our second Expo in as many years. I cannot express to you enough the importance of educating yourself as to what is available in the market place. This Expo is a great opportunity to see whats new… and to try it! I can’t tell you how much money we wasted our first year buying gluten free products for Giulia. We threw a lot of it away. Thousands of dollars wasted because she didn’t like the way it tasted! Now, I contribute some of that to her transition from a gluten world to being 100% gluten free. I get that. But, some of the products we tried in the past were down right awful! What an awesome concept to have the ability to try products BEFORE buying them! The concept of the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo is brilliant in that sense. Now, granted there are a lot of gluten free bakeries at these events, and you really must be careful about trying to replace all gluten products with highly processed gluten free food for fear of other medical conditions because of increased sugar intake. But there is a time and place for these products. We believe everything in moderation is OK. Kids like cake! My point here is there are many other products that are showcased at this Expo; seasonings and sauces, beverages and sports drinks, nutritional supplements, make-up, etc. It’s worth it to attend, trust me.
Now, these five top picks are the products/vendors that most impressed us over our two days at the Expo. We’re passing them on to you because we feel they are great products, not just because Lisa and I loved them, but more importantly 11 year old Giulia loved them as well. So lets get to it! Here’s our top five picks of GFAF Expo 2014 (in no particular order):
SUPERSEEDZ Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds are a no shell, dry roasted, and all natural snack in a bag. These things are amazing and come in several flavors. All of the seasoning used is gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free, dairy free, fish free, shellfish free and soy free. Each bag contains five servings with 9 grams of protein and several other key nutrients like zink and iron in each serving. We bought several bags to take home with us, including the Tomato Italiano, Super Spicy, Sea Salt, and Coco Joe. SUPERSEEDZ is located in North Haven, CT and you can see which stores are carrying their products here or order directly from their website.
San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce is naturally brewed with 100% soybeans and no wheat. No artificial preservatives or MSG are added. San-J Tamari is certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, certified kosher by Orthodox Union and is Non-GMO Project verified. Their product line also includes several Asian cooking sauces and salad dressings as well as brown rice crackers and soups. Have you found a gluten free Chinese food restaurant that delivers? Well we haven’t! We started using these sauces with our homemade stir fry dinners and they are amazing! This product is widely available in food stores… get creative and try some! You won’t be disappointed!
DF Mavens “The finest dairy-free ice cream in the world!”. They are not kidding! Do you remember the scene in the Pixar movie “Ratatouille” where the food critic drops his pen and goes into a jaw dropping trance, reminiscing of his childhood in his mothers kitchen, after tasting the ratatouille for the first time? Yeah… it’s like that. DF Mavens has hit a home run here! Choose between ice cream made from almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Oh, and a sugar free offering as well! We tried all of the flavors, one better than the other. I swear to you, at one point Lisa and I stood staring at each other, absolutely speechless! Is it possible that almond milk ice cream is actually superior to actual ice cream?!? I know what I think so you be the judge! DF Mavens is located in New York City and is available at several locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. They will also ship it to you directly from their website! DF Mavens is gluten free, dairy free, has no preservatives or cholesterol, and is Kosher.
Way Better Snacks are sprouted chips made from several sources based on the style you like. A full list of their ingredients, including non-GMO corn, is available on their website. We think these are the greatest tasting gluten free chips, hands down. They are available in many food store chains across the country. We happen to buy them at our local Wegmans Food Market. The reason we picked them in our top five is simple. They brought with them two new flavors in their arsenal: Sriracha and Mustard/Onion. Giulia’s favorite has always been the Sweet Chili chips, but when she tried the Sriracha, she started to dance. No kidding! Dancing in the middle of the aisle humming “Mm Hmmmmm, Mm Hmmmmm!”. The chips are really good. We haven’t seen the Sriracha flavor in our store yet, but you can be sure they will be put in the shopping cart when they arrive!
Ian’s Natural Foods, allergy friendly and gluten free. First of all, their website is loaded with information about their products. Extensive! Second, their food is really good! One of Giulia’s favorite foods was onion rings and we could never find a suitable gluten free replacement, until we tried Ian’s Gluten Free Onion Rings! Wow! Crispy, not oily at all. Then we tried their new Italian style croutons. Amazing! Ian’s is a great company that offers a full line of food products that are allergen friendly and are really good!
There you have it! Now go find them and try them. But most importantly, if you have the opportunity to attend the GFAF Expo in a city near you, you have to go. You have know idea what our missing! And, uh, in case it matters to you, the opinions above are ours and ours alone. We like to share things with our gluten free community that we are excited about, especially when it comes to food. Food in a big part of our culture. Now that were gluten free, it’s nice to share when we find a winner in our book. Enjoy!